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his leisure time to read Shakespeare and Pope, but had yet to make his own first attempt at verse. Wordsworth was scarce a year old; Walter Scott was not born till five months later, and our centenarian was 17 years old when Byron first saw the light of day. Sterne had been dead only three years and Akenside one. Goldsmith, Hume, Samuel Johnson, Gibbon and Cowper were all living, and Coleridge, Charles Lamb and Southey all yet to be born. Watt had received his first patent for a steam engine only two years before, and his first engines on a large scale were erected four years later. The steamboat was not tried as an experiment until thirty years later, and Fulton's Clermont did not float on the Hudson until 1807. Our centenarian was comparatively an old man (sixty seven) when the first steamer crossed the Atlantic.
March 15, 1771, in France, Louis XV., the well-beloved, was still on the throne, and Napoleon an infant in his mother's arms at Ajaccio. Louis XVI. was only 17 years old, and the unfortunate Marie Antoinette whom he had married the year before was a year his junior. Lafayette, 14 years of age, was in college at Paris, Voltaire, Rousseau and D'Alambert were yet alive, and Madame de Stael, a little girl of six years. Murat was born March 25, 1771, and Ney only two years before. Frederick the Great was King of Prussia then, and for 15 years later; Maria Theresa Empress of Austria, Charles III. King of Spain, and Clerment XIV. Pope of Rome.
THE MICHIGAN AND OHIO BOUNDARY LINE.
BY FRANK E. ROBSON, ESQ., OF LANSING.
It is now nearly a century since the wilderness of forest and swamp, with now and then a bit of prairie, lying north of the Ohio river and west of the borders of Pennsylvania, and reaching to the Mississippi river, was permanently organized as the Northwest Territory.
This vast territory had been claimed for years by several states of the confederacy, under decidedly conflicting, and perhaps doubtful titles. “ New York claimed it under the Six Nations, who, by their martial prowess, had established a certain undefined and only partially admitted supremacy over the tribes of the region, and who had themselves acknowledged subordination to the jurisdiction of New York. Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut claimed all or parts of it under the vague and uncertain terms of their charters, and Virginia claimed also by virtue of * * conquest.”
New York, in March, 1781, was the first to cede its claim to the territory to the general government; Massachusetts in 1785 was the last. In the interval all of the states claiming jurisdiction over any portions of the territory ceded their claims to the confederacy, although the cession of Connecticut, which contained a reservation of the lands now a part of the state of Ohio, and known as the Western Reserve,” was not accepted by Congress until 1786.
The confederacy had thus, at this latter date, obtained title to all the territory, and July 13th of the following year, enacted the ordinance of 1787, “ for the government of the territory northwest of the Ohio." This act was undoubtedly more far reaching in its effects than any of its supporters conceived, and of it Judge Cooley speaks in glowing terms. He says, “ This was the immortal ordinance of 1787, * * * * * ; immortal for the grand results which have followed from its adoption, not less than for the wisdom and far seeing statesmanship that conceived and gave form to its provisions.”
It is with the provisions of the fifth article of this ordinance that we are particularly concerned in this inquiry. This article provided generally that “ There shall be formed in said territory, not less than three, nor more than five states," and then went on to establish the boundaries for the proposed states. The boundaries of the three states first to be' erected were, the Ohio on the south and Mississippi on the west, and the present boundary lines between Indiana and Illinois and Indiana and Ohio, extended to the territorial boundary line on the north. Then follows this proviso: “ Provided, however, and it is further understood and declared that the boundaries of these three states shall be subject so far to be altered, that if Congress hereafter find it expedient, they shall have authority to form one or two states in that part of said territory which lies north of an east and west line drawn through the southerly bend or extrene of Lake Michigan."
Ohio was the first state to be erected from the territory, and April 30, 1802, Congress provided for its admission by an enabling act, under which the state was organized. This act described the northern boundary line of the proposed state in the following words: “and on the north by an east and west line drawn through the southerly extreme of Lake Michigan and running east after intersecting the north line aforesaid, from the mouth of the Great Miami,” (that is the boundary between Indiana and Ohio) “until it shall intersect Lake Erie, to the Pennsylvania line aforesaid."
After the organization of Ohio the balance of the territory went under the name of Indiana territory, and so remained until Michigan territory was set off by virtue of an act of Congress approved January 11, 1805. The boundaries of Michigan territory were described in the following terms: “All that part of the Indiana territory which lies north of a line drawn east from the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan, until it shall intersect Lake Erie, and east of a line drawn from the said southerly bend, through the middle of said lake, to its northern extremity, and thence due north to the northern boundary of the United States, shall for the purpose of temporary government, constitute a separate territory, and be called Michigan.”
All the congressional legislation, then, up to 1805, recognizes the line drawn through the southerly extreme of Lake Michigan, extending due east until it should intersect Lake Erie, or the territorial line, to be the established boundary between Michigan and Ohio and Michigan and Indiana. There would seem, then, to be no ground for controversy between the several states, at least so far as relates to congressional legislation.
A controversy did arise, however, based in part on the supposed intention and understanding of the members of Congress in regard to the legislation just cited. It was not exactly known where the line passing through the southerly extreme of Lake Michigan would intersect Lake Erie, but it was supposed it would be very near the present northern boundary of Ohio. In fact, the southerly extreme of Lake Michigan was farther south than had been supposed, and a line drawn due east from it would intersect Lake Erie somewhere near the mouth of the Cuyahoga river. This fact was undoubtedly known to the convention which adopted the constitution under which Ohio was admitted ; at least they considered it probable that it might intersect Lake Erie at some point below the mouth of the Maumee. In the Ohio constitution of 1802 the sixth section of the seventh article declares the state to be bounded "on the north by an east and west line drawn through the southerly extreme of Lake Michigan, running east after intersecting the due north line aforesaid, from the mouth of the Great Miami,” (that is the boundary line between Ohio and Indiana) “until it shall intersect Lake Erie or the territorial line," etc. “ Provided, always, and it is hereby fully understood and declared by this convention, that if the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan should extend so far south, that a line drawn due east from it should not intersect Lake Erie, or if it should intersect east of the Miami river of the lake, then, and in that case, with the assent of the Congress of the United States, the northern boundary of this state, shall be established by, and extended to, a direct line running from the southern extremity of Lake Michigan, to the most northerly cape of the Miami bay, after intersecting the due north line from the Great Miami," etc.
The act of Congress of February 19, 1803, which recognized Ohio as a state, makes no allusion to the boundaries in the body of the act, but the preamble recites that, “the people of the eastern division of the territory northwest of the the river Ohio, did, on the 29th day of November” 1802 “ form themselves a constitution and state government” * * * * "in pursuance of an act of Congress” * * * “whereby the said state has become one of the United States of America." The authorities of Ohio claimed this to be an implied assent on the part of Congress to the boundary proposed in the proviso of the article of their constitution already cited. They further based their claims on a supposed preference of the people residing in the territory in contest for the gorernment of the state of Ohio; and a supposed intention of Congress to give Ohio the entire southern shore of Lake Erie, based probably on a further supposition that Congress, in selecting the line passing due east through the southern extreme of Lake Michigan, believed it to intersect Lake Erie above the mouth of the Maumee, and thus laid it out under a mistake. Judge Campbell in speaking of this latter claim says: “It is a mere assumption to claim that the Congress of 1787 laid it out under a mistake, or intended to give the eastern state the entire southern shore of Lake Erie, or any specific part of it.” And farther on says: “ There is no evidence that Congress paid any attention to this question or cared where the line fell; inasmuch as it was subject to their future discretion whether to run the line at all or not.”
The territory which was in dispute extends the entire length of the northern boundary of Ohio, until it meets Lake Erie,, being about five miles wide at the west end and eight miles wide at the east end; and within its bounds is the mouth of the Maumee, now a valuable and important harbor, and the flourishing city of Toledo.
It is probable that the possible importance of this harbor had much to do in influencing the action of the Ohio authorities. Quoting from an address of W. W. Way, of Perrysburg, Ohio, read at Tecumseh, Michigan, in 1868: · The state of Ohio as early as 1825, contemplated the construction of a navigable canal from the Ohio river at Cincinnati to the navigable waters of the Maumee. The canal was constructed as far north as Piqua and there terminated for a number of years, * * * In 1835 * * * * the people in the northwest became clamorous for the extension of the canal north to its completion.
“By this time the navigation of the Maumee to the foot of the rapids, at Perrysburg and Maumee,” two small towns about ten miles from Toledo, "was ascertained to be not as good as to Toledo, and therefore the authorities of the state deemed it of the utmost consequence to have the territory including Toledo, for the termination of the canal.”'
From the time of the admission of Ohio until it became certain that Michigan was about to become a member of the Union, the matter in controversy remained unsettled, neither party making any active effort to obtain the territory in dispute. The authorities of Michigan were exercising jurisdiction over this territory, and representatives of Ohio in Congress were making efforts on every possible occasion to have that body in some manner assent to the proposed boundary already noticed, and Congress as often striking from proposed measures, provisions looking towards that end. And every action taken by Congress in the matter up to the final settlement did recognize the right of the territory of Michigan to exercise jurisdiction over the disputed ground.
The land in contest was a part of Wayne county, and was so recognized by the authorities of Ohio in selecting delegates to form a constitution under the congressional enabling act of 1802. The act itself cut off Wayne county “ from a voice or interest in the new state;" and delegates from Wayne county were not admitted to the Ohio convention.
An effort to have the exact line ascertained was provided for by an act of Congress of May 20, 1812, which provided “ that the surveyor general, under the direction of the president, * * * * * cause to be surveyed, marked and designated so much of the western and northern boundaries of the state of Ohio, * * * not already * * * ascertained, as divides” Ohio “from the territories of Michigan and Indiana.” Under the provisions of this act the surveyor general in 1817 directed one William Harris to run the line. He surveyed a line in that year, commencing at the easterly end of the most northerly cape of Maumee bay and running thence west towards the southerly bend of Lake Michigan until it intersected the western boundary of Ohio. This line is commonly called “Harris' line” in distinction from another line run at a later date under the supervision of the treasury department, which was dissatisfied with the line as run by Harris. This line was also run under the supervision of the surveyor general, by John A. Fulton and called “Fulton's line,” and more nearly corresponds with what would be the correct line as declared in the congressional legislation already cited.
The running of “Harris' line” was of sufficient importance for Gov. Cass to take notice of it, which he does in a letter to Surveyor General Tiffin. The letter so fully states the claims of Michigan as subsequently asserted